With the rise in obesity, it seems that there is something very wrong with the way that most of us eat. Now a new survey has found that the healthiest diets on the planet seem to originate from some of the world’s poorest places.
Research carried out by the medical journal The Lancet examined the diets of 4.5 billion adults across the countries of the world and came up with some surprising findings. The African countries appear to have the healthiest diet with Chad (once the poorest country in the world) heading the list, closely followed by Mali, Cameroon and Guyana.
We looked at Chad cuisine to find out more.
It seems that Chadians eat a lot of grains such as millet, sorghum and rice plus plenty of fruit and vegetables and nuts especially peanuts. They also make goat cheese but dairy produce is rare.
Meat and fish is also available but we imagine that most people do not overdo this due to economic reasons. Chadian food looks surprisingly tasty – they use a lot of fresh spices and sauces. One of the typical meals is Aiyash. This dish is eaten by Chadian Arabs and features millet balls dipped in various sauces.
Of course, what they do not have in Chad is access to fast food or processed food. Perhaps the difference lies is what they DON’T eat in Chad, rather than what they do eat?
By contrast, the most affluent countries appear to have the worst diet. Surprisingly Armenia tops the list of diets to avoid, followed by Hungary and Belgium sits in third place just ahead of the USA.
Belgium? That’s a surprise or maybe it shouldn’t be. After all this small country is known for the quality of its chocolate, beer and chips and looking at the size of the average Belgian it seems that most of the population regularly indulges in all three of these fattening foodstuffs.
Next door neighbours France and the Netherlands do not have the same problem. There people appear to be generally slim and healthy looking. We can only conclude that for many of us weight gain is caused by simple everyday habits and traditions that a few miles down the round may not even exist.
When it comes down to it, the diet of Chad may be deemed the healthiest but this does not mean that Chadians will live long and prosper, A healthy diet is good but lifestyle is equally important.
The average life expectancy in Chad is just 50 years. Whereas in Belgium it is 80 years old. Naturally, much of this will be to do with the good healthcare you can expect to receive in Belgium compared with the inadequate facilities of Chad.
That said, we could learn a thing or two from the Chadian diet. And a lesson from Belgium too, though not necessarily in a good way.